I Now Pronounce You


I Saved a Life Before 8 AM

Posted in Uncategorized by inowpronounceyou on November 15, 2007

Like many of you reading this, I woke up to rain and thought “Great…juuust great”. I could hear it beating down the second my eyes opened and I immediately thought of how crappy my commute would be; grouchy pedestrians…the nasty smell that goes along with a train load of wet Metro travellers…the idiot drivers who act as though they’ve never seen anything fall from the sky before…

What a lovely Thrusday morning this is shaping up to be.

So, when the New Girlfriend (NGF) and I headed up the street towards the Metro, both of us with our heads tucked under our umbrellas, I wasn’t exactly wide eyed. Oh, and add to the list of annoying morning issues the sound of the hundreds of children making their way to Harriet Tubman Elementary. Oh yeah, it was a hum dinger of a start to my day. Every morning, rain or shine, I find myself thinkng the same thing;

Shut up shut up OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SHUT UP!!!

Today however, as I walked up Irving Street, I saw one little boy waiting to cross the street…I don’t know why he stood out, exactly, but he caught my eye. It might have been the bright red jacket he was wearing, or the fact that he was waiting for light…staring straight ahead at the crossing guard and the crossing light like a good kid should. NGF and I were having a light hearted conversation about the weekend and doing some Christmas shopping for our families when the light changed and, off the little man went.

Then everything slowed down…

Coming down the perpendicular 13th St was a School Van/Bus. You know the ones…not a full sized bus, but bigger than an average van. This bus was turning down Irving St, towards the little guy in the red jacket crossing the street.

He’s going to slow down and wait…let a car pass through the intersection and then go…

But he didn’t…he just kept coming.

I turned and looked at the crossing guard…who was staring up Irving…not even looking at this little guy coming right towards her. He’s RIGHT THERE…he’s staring RIGHT AT YOU..turn your fucking head!

Nothing.

By now, the kid in the bright red jacket was nearing the halfway point of his journey across Irving. He’s got it, I thought…just as I saw the bus start to fucking accelerate to get across 13th and down Irving ahead of the oncoming traffic. Right then, everything sped back up.

At this point I was maybe 15′ from the intersection, and I realized that no one except for me saw this little boy in the bright red jacket. No one. Not the crossing guard who never looked, not the school bus driver who was trying to beat traffic and wasn’t watching where he was actually going. Not the other pedestrians or even the cars waiting for the light. This kid was in the blindspot of the entire Universe.

Except for me.

Whoa! whoa! WHOA! I screamed as I stepped out in to the street waiving my arms like I was trying to signal a rescue helicopter…FUCKING STOP!!! STOP!!! WHOA!!!!

The bus driver hit the brakes and looked annoyingly at me and went to give me the “get out of the way” hand sweep…

The little boy in the red jacket turned and looked at me as if he didn’t know the answer to a math problem…

The crossing guard (in title only) turned to me and looked angry, as though I’d somehow violated the rules of her fiefdom and started coming towards me ready to yell…

And then, in a moment that Scorcese couldn’t have filmed any better…

They all saw each other.

The little boy in the red jacket looked over his shoulder and saw the front of a van not two feet from him. It must have looked like the scariest monster he’d ever seen…with a grill for teeth and two burning headlight eyes…he turned and ran back to the side of the street he’d started from…and started to cry.

The bus driver finally saw the little boy when he turned back and realized there was a bus behind him. OK…OK he said to me with the universal hands-held-up-mea-culpa…

OK? It’s not fucking OK!! Open your fucking eyes! You almost killed that kid you fucking idiot!

And the crossing guard, now finally in the street, but on the other side of the bus (with an obstructed view of the retreating boy she should have seen all along) started with, calm down, what’s the problem?

Don’t tell me to calm down where the fuck were you?!

Then she noticed the boy on the other side of the street and waived him over…it’s ok, I got it.

Yeah, now you’ve fucking got it. Open your eyes!

NGF and I headed on our way with our hearts pounding and our own eyes wide open. At first I thought it was the straight up incompetence that I’d seen that had me so angry. Honestly? That was only part of it. The rest of it was the fact that if I hadn’t done anything…if I’d just gone along my original train of thought, “they’ll see each other”, I would have watched that little boy in the red jacket get run over. The bus driver, having never seen him, would have hithim, gone right over him, kept right on going…

And my day would have started with the death of a little boy in a red jacket.

Now, I saw a gang banger get popped in Dorchester, Ma once. One guy leaned out the window of an 80’s Caddie and shot another guy right in the stomach. Happened maybe 20-30 yards away from me. I had to give a statement to the police and everything. I never lost a night’s sleep over it.

But this? This I am pretty certain would have messed up more than my sleep patterns. I immediately thought of my nieces. Of NGF’s little girl. Hell, I thought of just about every kid I’ve ever known.

Parents…how can you deal with it? With knowing that even when they are surrounded by the people that are supposed to be watching out for them, the bus drivers and the crossing guards of the world…that the Universe can turn a blind eye and suddenly there’s a monster bus taking away your world?

Think about this; somewhere out there right now is a parent that doesn’t even know, and most likely never will know just how close they came today to losing their kid. That little boy in the red jacket isn’t going to go home and say “He mom, today I was crossing the street, with the light like I’m supposed to, just like you taught me, and this bus almost hit me! Yeah, only, guess what? I never saw it, and this guy had to jump out in the street and stop him!”

(And then I learned all of these really great swear words!)

I don’t know how you parents do it. I really don’t. Me? If I had a kid? I think I’d lock them in their room until they were at least 16. You think I’m kidding, I know you do. Heh heh.

I’m not.

Between monster school vans, senseless violence, falling off the jungle gym, pedophiles, and Christ only knows what else? I just don’t think I’m built for having kids. I mean it. And short of saying “I left you something in your room” and then nailing the door shut once they go in there? I got nothin’. Really, that’s my whole parental approach right there.

And somehow I think Child Services would frown on that sort of thing.

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25 Responses to 'I Saved a Life Before 8 AM'

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  1. Julie said,

    People think I am crazy when I tell them that I seriously cannot see myself bringing a child into this world.

    For all of the reasons you mentioned and then some. There is just so much evil going on that I do not know how I would ever feel safe letting my kids get on the school bus, much like I did everyday.

    Thank goodness you were there INPY.

    Believe me, that I understand!


  2. This is the big reason why I’m actually terrified around kids. Not of them, but around them. They just seem so fragile.

    Now that I’ve got a seriously adorable niece and nephew to dote on, I’m almost more convinced that your proposed parental style is the way to go. And like you, I’m thinking that DSS might take issue with that.

    And yes – thank goodness you were there.

    Not of them…suuuuuure…

  3. roissy said,

    you know how most parents handle it? they move to the leafy suburbs.

    not a panacea, but definitely fewer bus drivers and taxicabs pretending to be formula 1 racecars.

    The burbs do offer less craziness…well, a different craziness I should say.

  4. wes285 said,

    I actually saw the end result of all that as I turned around on my way to the metro on Irving after hearing all the commotion. Not to excuse the idiot short bus driver, but part of the problem is the traffic lights on 13th street. There isnt the usual few seconds delay between when on light turns red and the other turns green. So drivers think they have more time than they actually do. That, and the crossing guard right there is utterly useless.

    I’ve seen several accidents right there, and I’m assuming that you noticed the smashed wall, too? It’s a terrible intersection, which is all the more reason to have an attentive crossing guard there.

  5. Virgle Kent said,

    God Damn, nothing like almost witness the loss of a life to get your heart racing. I bet you might not need coffee for a week!

    I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life but I suddenly feel the need to puff one.

    Right there with you VK. I felt like i wanted a drink!


  6. the part of the story to concentrate on…is that you WERE there.. and you DID do something…and because of you… in that critical moment… the world got a little better…instead of a little worse.. and that is a GOOD thing..
    xoxo

    That’s what I’m trying to focus on now and that it is a good thing. Thanks, Blondie.

  7. NGF said,

    That little boy was the only one doing the correct thing; he walked through the lights while the white walk symbol was up. With a crossing guard right there. And STILL he almost got hit by a bus.

    It’s a good thing there are people, such as yourself, who don’t just assume that everyone else will get it right and take care of things.

    As a parent, seeing something like that makes me want to walk my daughter to school until she turns 16. Holding her hand the entire way. I’d be the embarrassing mom, but at least she’d get to school safe and sound.

    That’s the part that was so crazy! He did everythign right, and everyone else failed in the simple things they have to do like MEET THE KIDS IN THE STREET!! Oh, and WATCH WHERE YOU ARE DRIVING!!!

    I think this is a good plan, really…the hand holding right up through the teens!!!

  8. Beach Bum said,

    Great job! 🙂

    Hopefully tomorrow the crossing guard will start doing a great job, too.

  9. Mandy said,

    I’ve missed posts like this one INPY. 🙂

    Glad that this one filled the void. Tomorrow, back to baseball. (j/k)


  10. I thought you were a superhero after reading your Chipotle story… but NOW… I’m positive that you are. Thanks for saving a kid’s life. You realize that’s exactly what you did today, right?!

    I did only after I realized that i would have watched that kid get killed. Then it really hit me.

  11. Jo said,

    Thank god you were there! Way to go superman.

    Thanks alot Wonder Woman. 😉


  12. Keep doin how you do, man. It reminds me why I believe in people.

    Gracias, amigo.

  13. Arjewtino said,

    Considering how much you loathe children, this story is especially poignant.

    After that one kid…the next one better have some other guardian angel.

  14. Miss B said,

    This teacher thanks you very much.

    I bet he has no idea what a lucky little kid he was this morning.

    Way to go, INPY!

    I’m sure he doesn’t…just that he got the scare of his little life.

  15. WiB said,

    Bravo.

    That’s all, just bravo.


  16. I am just now starting to breathe again! Hurray for you, INPY. When my son was about 11, he got off the school bus and walked in front of it to cross the street when a driver completely ignored the flashing red school bus lights and zoomed past it — stopping two inches from my kid. He definitely told me about it, in great detail, and I almost locked him in his room right then and there. I can vouch for that feeling, INPY. But somehow you let them go, and you consciously believe that all will be well, and most of the time, it is.

    Now that’s he grown and a cop, I consciously keep myself from thinking about what could happen to him on the job. Because I still want to lock him in his room. Except he’d just shoot off the doorknob.

  17. skip said,

    I’ve got two kids – 12 and 16. My oldest was about 6 or 7.and we were walking out of Giant. I told her to wait for me and hold my hand. she went to step off the curb without looking. I yelled. she stepped off anyway. there wasn’t anyone coming. I caught up to her and held her hand as we walked through the parking lot. we got to the car and I put the groceries in the trunk. I turned to her and said, “I can’t believe you disobeyed me like that.” She said, “Well, you better believe it dad, because it happened.”

    I grabbed two handfuls of her shirt and picked her up holding her against the car, and slightly above me. “You will not -ever- speak to me in that manner. Am I clear?”
    “uh huh,” she replied in a shaky voice.
    “you will not -ever- disobey me in that manner again. clear?”
    “yes, dad,” she said, starting to cry.
    “do you understand why I’m saying this?”
    “no…”
    “you could have been hit by a car.”

    the light went on.

    I never had -that- particular issue with her again.

    you do the best you can with what you’ve got. life is dangerous. people can and do get hurt or killed. sometimes it’s the people we love. that’s the price you pay for love. Ultimately, it’s worth it, I believe.

  18. Justin said,

    Stories like this illustrate why I have *no sympathy* for drunk drivers.

    That could be my daughter you accidentally kill, asshole. Go to jail. For a long time. Enjoy the not-having-bourbon and PMITA.

  19. KassyK said,

    Wow. This really hit me hard. My cousin was killed as teenager in a car accident in a situation that was also due to pure stupidity and distraction on the part of the other driver. His friend was driving the car and they were going the speed limit, doing everything right and got smashed in by a driver who had no idea what he was doing. My cousin died immediately.

    He had overcome cancer and a plethora of painful surgeries to cure him of it when he was just a little kid and was given about 5-6 years healthy before he was killed in a mindless and senseless car accident.

    Thank gd you were there for this kid INPY, seriously…thank gd,

    🙂

  20. heather said,

    Thank you for doing something, for risking yourself, to avert tragedy.

    The world needs more people who will step in front of a bus to save a red jacket-wearing child. Thanks for this.

  21. startingtoday said,

    When my father was young, he used to walk to school every day, much like here. He lived in a city; everyone walked. My grandmother was so paranoid about letting him walk to school alone, for fear he would get hit by a car. Rather than embarrass the heck out of him in front of his friends and walk with him, she secretly followed him in her car every day.

    And wouldn’t you believe it? He got hit by a car crossing the street, and my grandmother was immediately there for him. He was fine; just got a real good bruise on the hip. I bet she thought “I’m sure glad I’ve been following him to school every day!” (And I’m sure he thought – “How did my mother get here so quickly??”)

    Things turned out ok for him, but it would have been nice if there had been an alert INPY type there to prevent that.

  22. rabbit said,

    You did good…….made the world a little bit better…gracias.

  23. blueseaglass said,

    Good for you! You need to talk to BritBrit – she keeps running over people’s feet.

  24. ListenToLeon said,

    Wow…I can’t believe I missed this post. I’m really glad that you were there to save that little kid. I don’t blame you for cursing out the bus driver or the crossing guard!

  25. the lighthouse said,

    Mothers are scared- every single second of every single day. As a parent you have to hope others are looking out for the children too. I know I do. Like the old cliche “takes a village to raise a child”


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